Propane Safety During Hurricane Season
How to Keep Your Family Safe
While the Tar Heel State was fortunate to avoid the wide-spread flooding and power outages that Hurricane Ida brought to other parts of the Southeast as well as the Northeast, this latest destructive storm serves as a topical time to provide some important information about safety tips for future severe weather events. Remember, the Atlantic hurricane season doesn’t officially end until November 30.
What to Do If a Storm Is on the Way
Do the following if severe weather is forecast.
- Make sure you have enough propane—including for your generator–to last for at least a week after the storm ends in case there are road blockages or closures.
- Monitor local media and websites for instructions on the appropriate actions to take, especially if you live in an area that’s prone to flooding.
After the Storm, Take These Steps
- Use a broom to clear debris from all vents, chimneys, and flues to reduce the risk of carbon monoxide (CO) gas backing up into your home.
- If indoor or outdoor propane equipment has been flooded, shut off the service valve at the propane tank. Propane-powered household appliances, farm equipment or vehicles that have been underwater should be inspected by a qualified technician before being put back into service.
- Damage to propane regulators and controls is a significant problem resulting from flooding. We recommend a complete inspection of the entire system after heavy rains because water damage to propane equipment and appliances is not always readily apparent.
- If you shut down your propane gas supply, you are required to have a pressure test performed by a licensed propane contractor before you can use your propane equipment again.
Other Reminders for Staying Safe with Propane
- Make sure all adults in your household know how to shut off the flow of gas from your propane storage tank. This is a recommended step if you ever smell propane gas—but shut off the valve only if you feel it’s safe to do so. If you are not sure how to turn off the valve, contact your local propane company.
- While propane is odorless, manufacturers incorporate an odor into it to alert homeowners in case of a gas leak. Many people have trouble smelling propane, so make plans to install one or more propane gas detectors. Read more about what to do if you smell gas.
- Never store portable propane cylinders indoors or in an enclosed area such as a basement, garage, shed, or tent.
- Never use outdoor propane equipment (grills, portable generators, etc.) indoors. You should never use your kitchen stove for heat either. Carbon monoxide from these devices is a dangerous and potentially deadly hazard.
- Test and replace batteries when necessary in all carbon monoxide detectors in your home before winter, following the manufacturer’s instructions regarding maintenance. Know how to spot the symptoms of CO poisoning, and what to do if someone is experiencing them. Make sure your smoke detectors are operating properly also.
Do you want to learn more about propane safety? The Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) has produced modules to help you, with topics ranging from propane tank safety to the safe handling of your propane grill cylinders and much more. Learn more.